Cladding firm fights back from recession

The Northern Echo: FIGHTING BACK: Cathedral Cast Products has been helped by the construction industry's upturn FIGHTING BACK: Cathedral Cast Products has been helped by the construction industry's upturn

A CLADDING firm is gaining international recognition and creating jobs as it fights back from the recession.

Cathedral Cast Products, based in Consett, County Durham, makes brick slips and veneers.

The company says it has been buoyed by the upturn in the construction industry and a rising demand for bricks.

It has now gained interest from Dubai, with further work on a 26-home scheme in Barnsley and sales distributorships in Derby and Oxford proving fruitful.

It is also targeting growth with new stone cladding veneers, to target deals previously won by foreign rivals.

Bosses say 97 per cent of veneers used in the UK are imported.

Allan Tucker, managing director, said it optimism was returning after a tough period.

He said: “We have seen a large increase in orders and interest over the last six months for our lightweight brick slips.

“That has been coupled with interest from large companies wanting to know more about us and how we are providing a solution to the UK’s shortage of house bricks.

“Many contractors are suffering.

“With no end in sight, a lot of the larger brick producers are now on a 48-week lead time or have to shut their order books for certain bricks.”

Mr Tucker said the construction sector’s continued return to growth was having a positive effect.

He added: “We have got through some really hard times and things have been touch and go in the last couple of years.

“However, we always believed in our unique product and stuck by the fact we knew the market would pick up again.

“We have now gone in a new direction with the distributorships, which are proving very successful, and we have taken our workforce from three staff up to about eight people.

“Conditions are becoming more favourable, and last week we had an enquiry from Dubai.

“By expanding into a stone cladding veneer, we hope in time to turn the import tide and export to other counties.”

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